Of Joyce El-Khoury’s recent role debut as Imogene (Il pirata) with the Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opéra magazine wrote: “…the infinite length of the breath, the science of chiaroscuro, the projection of the treble, the quality of the pianissimi, the variety of accents, in turn authoritarian and vulnerable, including in extraordinarily lively recitatives, as we had not heard them since Maria Callas.” Born in Lebanon and raised in Canada, Joyce El-Khoury has an acclaimed reputation for bringing newly discovered and rarely performed works to life, most recently with the world premieres of Donizetti’s L’Ange de Nisida at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Franz Liszt’s Sardanapalo with the Weimar Staatskapelle, both recorded and released internationally.
Ms. El-Khoury’s discography also includes two other rare Donizetti operas on the Opera Rara label (Les Martyrs and Belisario) conducted by Sir Mark Elder – all to critical acclaim. Her first solo disc, Écho, recorded with The Hallé and conducted by Carlo Rizzi was nominated for a Juno Award from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in recognition of outstanding achievements in the music industry.
Ms. El-Khoury’s 2023/2024 season begins with the highly anticipated Hungarian premiere of Liszt’s Sardanapalo at LisztFest in Budapest. Joyce makes two exciting Veridian role debuts this season. First, the role of Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo in a new production at Opéra de Monte-Carlo followed by her role debut as Maria/Ameilia in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at The Finnish National Opera & Ballet. Further on the opera stage this season, Joyce returns to Canada for performances of La Reine Garçon at Opéra de Montréal, as well as to Tokyo for performances of Tosca with The New National Theatre Tokyo. On the concert stage, she will join tenor Jonathan Tetelmann and baritone Artur Rucinski for an Italian Opera Gala with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester in Berlin and reunites with long-time collaborator Serouj Kradijian for a recital program inspired by Joyce’s Lebanese heritage at The Women’s Music Club of Toronto. Future seasons include international operatic & concert engagements in Genève, Dallas, Rouen, Paris and Montpellier, among others.
The recipient of the 2022 Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year from the Dallas Opera, Ms. El-Khoury’s has performed over 30 leading roles in major opera houses around the world in an expansive repertoire including Norma, Carmen, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Violetta (La traviata), Amelia (Un ballo in maschera), Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, Elisabetta (Roberto Devereux), Imogene (Il Pirata), Liù (Turandot), Anna (Le Villi), Tatyana (Eugene Onegin), Leïla (Les pêcheurs de perles), Salome (Hérodiade), Tatyana Bakst (Great Scott), among others. Recent career highlights include the title role of Carmen at Oper in Steinbruch as well as title role of Bellini’s Norma at the Athens’ Herodes Atticus Theatre at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. This new production of Norma, honoring the centennial celebration of Maria Callas, was directed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Tom Volf, who has become the most important collector and expert on the work of Maria Callas with his award-winning documentary Maria by Callas.
Ms. El-Khoury has collaborated with some of the opera world’s most prolific conductors. She joined maestro Riccardo Muti in her debut as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra & with the Tokyo Spring Festival as well as the Verdi Requiem at the Teatro Massimo Palermo in Italy. She frequently worked with the late Lorin Maazel at the beginning of her professional career in leading roles such as Desdemona (Otello), Mimí (La bohème), Suor Angelica and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) at the Castleton Festival as well as Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing and in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Munich Philharmonic. She has also enjoyed a close relationship with composer Tobias Picker, first performing the title role of Emmeline at Opera Theatre of St. Louis to critical acclaim and then reuniting with him for his opera Awakenings in the role of Rose for the opera’s east coast premiere in collaboration with Odyssey Opera & Boston Modern Opera Project.
On the concert stage Ms. El-Khoury has joined many of the leading orchestras around the world including L’Orchestra Sinfonia Nazionale della Rai, the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester at the Grafenegg Festival for Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonic under the direction of Emmanuel Villaume for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris for Rossini’s Stabat Mater as well as opening the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra’s season in a gala concert performance. She has given recitals around the world including the Amici Chamber Ensemble in Toronto and at the Al Bustan Festival in her home country of Lebanon, highlighting repertoire of Lebanese culture.
Ms. El-Khoury continues to be a cultural advocate for Lebanon, with many recent masterclasses at the Al Bustan Festival as well as mentoring young Lebanese singers through her teaching initiative Lessons for Lebanon.